Thought Question: Cake for Lesbians, Arguing with Myself, Part 3 of 3

[This was supposed to post at 12 noon, but somewhere in the saving process I lost half the post. And work was WAY too busy to post during the day.]

lesbian-wedding-cakeWhat if the marriage is bigamous — if you know the husband has another wife?

Well, that’s illegal.

Assume we’re in a state or country where it’s perfectly legal. Would you attend the wedding of a Mormon to his third wife if that were consistent with their religion and not illegal?

I suppose so — for a good friend or a relative. Sure.

What if it’s a wedding of a 24-year old man to a 12-year old girl — if it’s legal and both parties consent.

I see where you’re going. You know, that used to be a very common practice. I must say I find it repulsive. Almost pedophilia. But that’s still common practice in some Middle Eastern countries and has been for thousands of years.

Would you attend? Take the pictures? Bake the cake?

If it was truly consensual and consistent with their cultural practices, and it was a really good friend, it would be hard to say no. Oww. I’m really uncomfortable with this whole conversation, you know. These are unpleasant, painfully challenging questions. Marriage is so very close to our hearts. And we all know cases where weddings have led to abusive situations. It’s just so hard to go to a wedding, smile, drink punch, and congratulate the couple when you know it’s all a very bad idea.

So the baker should have made the cake?

There are a hundred ways to argue it, but let’s keep it simple. She was put in a very difficult, unfair situation. Does she do more harm than good by saying yes or by saying no? If she says no, she makes the couple angry. She doesn’t bring them any closer to Jesus. Indeed, she will create resentment against Christians. After all, they may have to leave town to find an equally good baker. Brides can be very particular about their wedding cakes (although they all look and taste about the same to me). She has at least inconvenienced them, but they may be seriously upset by not getting the wedding they want (I have a son getting married soon. And not just any cake will do, you know.)

But it’s wildly improbable that they rethink their lifestyle choices and change their ways over a refused wedding cake. People aren’t like that. However, sometimes — perhaps years later — a woman concludes that she should never have been in a lesbian relationship and leaves the relationship, going straight (as it were). (Women are far more likely to be bisexual or even mistaken about their sexual identity than men. See Patrick Mead’s post.) Indeed, if such a woman decides to rethink her sexuality and has a high view of Christians as kind, generous, gracious people, she may well seek their help and consider becoming a faithful Christian when she makes her decision. But if she’s been (as she sees things) discriminated against and vilified by Christians, she’ll not convert regardless of her sexual preference.

The only way for her to think of Christians as kind, generous, and gracious people is to treat her in a way that she perceives as kind, generous, and gracious. Bake the cake. The only people who will condemn the baker are the baker’s Christian friends.

Well, that sounds very pragmatic, but I’m looking for some serious theology here. I’m not sure you decide right and wrong based on a cost-benefit analysis.

Fair enough. Consider Jesus. Jesus ate with publicans (Roman collaborators!) and “sinners.” In The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, D. A. Carson says that “sinners” in the Gospels includes prostitutes. Now, in the First Century, eating with someone implied acceptance into one’s social circle.

(Mat 9:10-12 NAS) 10 Then it happened that as Jesus was reclining at the table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were dining with Jesus and His disciples.  11 When the Pharisees saw this, they said to His disciples, “Why is your Teacher eating with the tax collectors and sinners?”  12 But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.

Meals were served “family style,” that is, food was served from a common bowl. Moreover,

… Richard Rackham directly connected these meals [described in Acts 2] with Jesus’ practice of open table fellowship. … [E]ating together has always been a sign of fellowship, especially among Semites. “To eat bread or salt with another, even with a deadly enemy, created a bond which could not be violated.” … More recently, William Willimon has noted that, since social boundaries are enforced most rigidly at table, eating together becomes a mark of solidarity across class lines.

Of Widows and Meals: Communal Meals in the Book of Acts, by Reta Halteman Finger, p. 51. No wonder the Pharisees took offense at Jesus for eating with sinners! It’s one thing to lecture them on the error their ways, and quite another to eat with them!

Luke shares a similar event —

(Luk 15:1-2 NAS) Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him.  2 Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

Jesus responded by telling a series of three parables, culminating in the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Now, among Middle Easterners, the most shocking part of the parable is the father’s behavior. You see, they lived in an honor culture, and the father maintains his honor, despite his son’s sins against the family, by insisting that the son come to him and beg forgiveness. The father must sit in his tent or house, stone faced, refusing to be brought low by his son.

But as Jesus describes the father, he runs toward the son, embracing him before the son can even apologize! This is considered disgraceful in that part of the world, a loss of honor. And yet Jesus describes God himself as willing to accept the criticism of his neighbors and friends, even to humiliate himself, to restore a lost child to the family.

Of course, Jesus emulated his Father by living this very way, by running toward the sinners, embracing them with a super-human love. Jesus suffered the condemnation and humiliation of society to be with prostitutes and other rejects. Why? Well, because only the sick need a physician.

One more example from Jesus —

(Luk 7:34-35 NAS) 34 “The Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Behold, a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’  35 “Yet wisdom is vindicated by all her children.”

“Wisdom is vindicated by all her children” means “look at the results.” Jesus justifies his socially unacceptable behavior by the results. He was being pragmatic, because love isn’t really love unless you care whether your methods are effective. It’s not just about being clean or pure. It’s about being will to touch the unclean so that God may cleanse them.

Luke immediately follows with the story of the woman — possibly a prostitute — who washed Jesus’ feet with her hair. She was a daughter of his wisdom!

So what does he say when the lesbian couple asks to buy a cake?

Well, he obviously doesn’t approve their sexual relations — no more than he approved the sex life of the Samaritan woman at the well. But he still seeks an opportunity to spend some time with them to share the good news.

After all, when Jesus was at the well, he didn’t preach a sermon against fornication. He spoke about the Holy Spirit and worship. He answered questions. He formed a relationship. Therefore, I think Jesus would react very differently from how most of us would. I mean, if we modern evangelicals had a good sense of how to act like Jesus, church life would be radically different. Let’s start by admitting to ourselves that we just aren’t very good at doing what Jesus would do.

I think Jesus might just say, “Tell you what — I’ll give you the cake for free if I can come to the rehearsal dinner and the reception.” And then he’d go and share the good news of the kingdom in positive, exciting, powerful ways. He’d draw the couple and their families and friends toward him through his powerful love. At the right time, he’d teach them about God’s design for sexuality, but he wouldn’t begin by damning them. He’d begin by loving them — even if every church in town condemned him from their pulpits the next Sunday.

You have a really strange understanding of Jesus. I mean, what part of “abomination” do you not understand?

Well, if you read the Old Testament prophets, you’ll find that they condemn injustice to the poor and a lack of hospitality as just as much an abomination as homosexuality.

(Eze 16:49-50 NAS) 49 “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom [metaphor for Samaria, that is, the Northern Kingdom]: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.  50 “Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.”

Would you attend the wedding of a wealthy person who cared nothing for the poor?

You’re a clever debater, but what about —

(Rom 1:26-1 NAS) 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,  27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  …  32 and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

Paul not only condemns homosexual activity (and I know you agree) but also those who approve those who do such things! How dare we participate in an event designed to celebrate a sin! It’s not just a wedding.

Think about it. Why do homosexuals marry? To legalize sex? No. To be able to inherit? No. To be able to obtain tax benefits? No. To bear children? No. I think virtually all homosexual marriages are political statements, designed to normalize homosexuality, to reverse the objection that marriage is for a man and woman and thus sex is only for a man and a woman. It’s part of a social and political agenda and nothing more.

And you’ve already admitted that we should not allow ourselves to be used to appear to approve such an agenda.

Well, I admit that I’ve never been invited to such a wedding. They’re not legal in Alabama, and they won’t be any time soon. Homosexuality is a long way from normalization here. I see your point, but wonder whether you’re over-generalizing, assuming to be true facts that are convenient to what you want to prove. I wonder how your theory might be tested …

My head hurts. And that means yours does, too. I think it’s time to pray over this one for more than a few days. It’s a tough one. Time for another topic?

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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41 Responses to Thought Question: Cake for Lesbians, Arguing with Myself, Part 3 of 3

  1. Adam Legler says:

    My family has a situation similar to this. The first reaction was to cut off total contact with the person. But after a few years they realized not having contact with this person did little to change that person’s mind while they were not able to influence that person much on what God desires. So they decided it was best to maintain relations with the understanding that they loved the person but not their status or behavior.

    I think their decision on it was a wise one and their type of thinking should be continued to be considered in these types of situations. There can be a healthy level of respect of each others views while still finding ways to love and connect with them because they are made in the image of God and God has not given up on them.

  2. aBasnar says:

    Assume we’re in a state or country where it’s perfectly legal. Would you attend the wedding of a Mormon to his third wife if that were consistent with their religion and not illegal?

    I suppose so — for a good friend or a relative. Sure.

    I’m not so sure. Shall I say to my friend then: “Congratulations! God bless your marriage!”? Most likely not. To be honest, I#d have to say: “Friend, this does not find God’s approval.” And since this is the case, how fitting is it to be at the celebration even? To eat the weding cake and partake of the banquet? Wouldn’t that be like sitting at the table of demons? If not, what’s the difference?

    I’d still be his friend, but true friendship must be able to accept critical remarks (spoken in love). I would not go to such a wedding.

    Alexander

  3. Bob Brandon says:

    Jay, respectfully, hypotheticals are tiresome.

    The original post addressed an actual incident; speculative scenarios are what get our fellowship in a lather all the time.

  4. Todd Collier says:

    Also remember that we condemn multiple wives, though Jesus reminds us such is not the pattern God had in mind, no scripture actually condemns the practice. It is the same with the social drinking hypothetical. You are raising up situations where we have spoken and made law to shed light on how to handle God’s laws. Not sure that works or is consistent with our overall way of reading and interpreting Scripture. We are not arguing against traditional man-made prohibitions here but direct and express condemnation of a behavior by God within the context of a society which viewed such behavior as the “norm.” Ancient Greece would have been paradise for the male half of the modern gay movement – man to man, man to boy, all night orgies were the approved lifestyle. Women existed only to make more Greeks. And in this environment Paul is telling Christians such behavior is representative of a curse on society. Very politically unpopular thing to say.
    For me as a progressive the past twenty years has been a journey marked by clearly defining what teachings I have received are solid and unmovably drawn from the Scriptures and those which represent merely our best guess at what God intended. I have left a lot of trash on the side of that road. I just can’t see a way to shed how Scripture views homosexuality.
    That being said, if I encounter a homosexual in the church or in society at large I will show them love and consideration as a fellow sinner. I will look for opportunities to share the greatest love with them – Jesus. But my willingness to do that doesn’t extend to the point of showing approval for their behavior anymore than I would accompany an alcoholic into a bar, a gambler into a casino or a porn addict into a “specialty shop” or strip club. I just don’t see it.

  5. Jerry says:

    Bob,
    I respectfully disagree. We teach teenagers all the time with hypotheticals to get them to think about what they would – should – do IF they are offered those drugs, a drink, etc. – or IF they are in a sexually challenging situation.

    We need to think about these things – but also recognize them for the difficult questions they are and NOT get “in a lather” about them.

    Seems to me its better to think about these situations before we face them – recognizing that the reality may make us change our minds about the hypothetical.

    Jerry

  6. laymond says:

    “And you’ve already admitted that we should not allow ourselves to be used to appear to approve such an agenda.”

    And for sure don’t let people believe we “Love others as ourself” how terriable would that be?

  7. Charles McLean says:

    I think what is tiresome is the thought required in such hypotheticals. Jay posed this one pretty carefully. I used to do a similar thing in hiring new employees. The interview focused on three hypothetical questions, not connected to the job, and none having a “good” solution. All required the applicant to manage among less-than-desirable outcomes. The reason I used these was to get a handle on how the applicant THINKS. I can teach the skills needed for the job, but I needed someone whose thought processes I could have confidence in. Well-formed hypotheticals can give us insight into our own minds and hearts, if we are willing to look.

  8. Alabama John says:

    I thought the question is can the baker refuse to bake their cake.

    If he does, OK. If he refuses, OK.

    The position the baker takes is his choice and that is what I am for.
    He should not be judged for sticking to his own set of values and that goes for the other examples Jay has given..
    Ulimately, we;’ll all stand before the bar of God and be judged and we cannot say we did this or that because brother or sister told us that was the right thing to do.
    We will be judged by our own acts or lack of them as we better stand on our own convictions and not just be a follower.

    What I want to interject in this discussion is not how queers behave at their best as we read on this forum, but, look at how they behave when they have access to young folks of their same sex and they are known for their unmerciful raping of them. These folks are not as kind as is being depicted in this discussion!

  9. Adam says:

    Maybe I’m the exception, but I live in Alabama and have been invited to several gay marriages. My wife was even the photographer for one. What is interesting is that the people getting married knew our beliefs, but chose to invite us anyway – because of our love for them and theirs for us.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t know how else to show Christ’s love with those outside the body than be being with them when they need us most – and surely a wedding would qualify for that.

    Again, maybe I’m the exception, but the gay weddings I’ve been to have been as far removed from a political statement as imaginable – just 2 people expressing their love. If that can’t be used as a starting point for Christ’s love for us, then what can?

  10. LoriBelle says:

    You know, in the days the Lord had prepared to lead me to a place of surrender to His will and not my own…I was studying with a man my age that I was attracted to. I was accustomed to living my own life and immorality didn’t seem wrong to me. I enjoyed this man’s company, looks, sense of humor, and his knowledge of God and His word. I was ready to live like I was used to living…but he bowed his head in his own shame and closed his eyes and shook his head “no” and said, “I can’t”. I was upset and angry and humiliated by his response…but God used that to shake me into reality of what is sin. This man never told me that I was immoral. He simply shared with me the truth of God’s word…His love…his desire for all to be saved. The room that was still available to all who would come. He talked about repentance and counting the cost. But it was God who was working in my heart and touching the things HE wanted me to renounce. I’m not saying that there won’t be a time for verbalizing what someone needs, but for me that isn’t how it was. But this man’s response to my sin had a profound impact on my ability to see it as sin. I didn’t feel condemned, I felt convicted. I knew he cared for me and I truly respected his righteous conviction to not participate in it. Just something to think and pray about. God doesn’t come in a box…we all need to be seeking to be led by His Spirit.

  11. Doug says:

    I think we’ve forgotten that this whole situation became explosive because the 2 lesbians took it public. It could have been quietly dismissed but one party chose to expose it to the world in order to attempt to punish the baker. And that the way it is today. One side trying to impose its will on the other side. Was there really only one baker in the community who could have baked a cake for these two persons?

    If you take a principled stand today that is counter to what the culture has deemed acceptable, you will be punished. That’s what I took from the story. It may be that the baker has other friends or acquaintances who are gay but that doesn’t mean anything… punish her! I find homsexuality disgusting but I have had gay friends and they were inside my church. At the appropriate time during worship I wished them the peace of the Lord and I meant it. I didn’t confront them about their sexual behavior every time I saw them but if I had been placed in a situation where I was being asked to cross a line that in some way meant my approval of their behavior, I wouldn’t do that. That’s what I see happening here. Now you may think that the line wasn’t crossed but for this baker, but it clearly was crossed for her. She should not be punished for someone else pushing her to that line where she had to make a private principled decision.

  12. John says:

    Yes, there will always be those whose beliefs cannot accept the gay lifestyle. However, even disagreement can, and should, come to a rebirth that acknowledges that its behavior toward those they cannot agree with has not been Christ-like.

    The sad truth is there are still Christians who use the obscene terms for gays and lesbians. Not just members, but preachers, elders and teachers. I have even heard Christians, or should I simply say “church members” who tell “humorus” stories of how such were dealt with and taught a lesson.

    The CoC, as well as other fundamentalist groups, need to work hard with their people to set aside self-rightous attitudes and strive to become a balm for society. When one considers the sexual misconduct that so many within conservative churches engage in, and can no longer hide like in days gone by, I think being more understanding will go a long way in helping Christians appear to be more human rather than play-acting hypocrites who are easily rankled when the accusing finger is turned back on them.

    The CoC has a grand opportunity to become the salt of the earth and the light on hill that it often hears about from Sunday to Sunday. But they never happen by boast and pretense; only by a tenderness that is still waiting to be invited by far too many congregations.

  13. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Bob,

    Isn’t asking “What would Jesus do?” a hypothetical? Is that a problem?

  14. Charles McLean says:

    I continue to wish that WWJD would be revised to WIDD (What Is Dad Doing?) The first is conjectural, and implies that we only have access to one-off information as to how to live our lives. The latter reveals –and depends upon– our spiritual fellowship with the Father which guides our steps.

  15. eric says:

    This is a great post and really helps me think over things from different angles. I can see how the baker could have done either as long as she felt she was doing what God wanted and giving up business is a sure sign someone at least cares what God thinks. And after all God is concerned about our hearts. It’s true you just can’t put God in a box. Someone might bake the cake thinking they may have a chance to witness while someone else may feel baking the cake implies acceptance of the marriage. If either were to not do what they felt was right to avoid confrontation or to make money they would in my opinion be in the wrong. In my case marriage is a sacrament and to do marriage wrong is to lie about God. To someone else this may not be the case. I get that.

  16. John Royse says:

    If the baker sold cake (or donuts or kolaches or cookies) to an obese person, would the baker be participating in the sin of obesity?

  17. Charles McLean says:

    John, now you done quit preachin’ and gone to meddlin’… ;^)

  18. Cathy says:

    Why do homosexuals marry? To legalize sex? No. To be able to inherit? No. To be able to obtain tax benefits? No. To bear children? No. I think virtually all homosexual marriages are political statements, designed to normalize homosexuality, to reverse the objection that marriage is for a man and woman and thus sex is only for a man and a woman. It’s part of a social and political agenda and nothing more.

    See, I just don’t think this is true. For one thing, straight couples don’t get married for those reasons, either. It’s a public commitment. Straight couples, outside a religious context, get married because they love each other and want to publicly commit to each other. Same for same-sex couples. The legal benefits — which do differ between “civil unions” and marriage — are an added bonus.

  19. Cathy says:

    John: Obesity is not a sin. Gluttony and sloth are, but they are far from the only reasons for obesity.

  20. LoriBelle says:

    “Why do homosexuals marry”…

    Aside from the “love” that they profess for each other, I recall seeing a female couple after “tying the knot” celebratory and one raised their clasped hands and declared, “FINALLY! She’s MINE!!!” What that revealed to me was that all at once, for that person it was like a declaration that this is RIGHT, “I’M RIGHT!!!”, thus furthering the delusion to believe that homosexuality is not sinful. Because until they can have the same treatment of normalcy in their choice for a love partner, they will always have this nagging realization that it’s wrong that will never be quieted until they have people looking at their relationship with widespread approval. There was NEVER a question as to the legitimacy of a union between a man and woman. It’s God’s intention, it’s God’s design. But when you try to go against what is contrary to what is natural…you meet with resistance.

  21. LoriBelle says:

    Actually, that last sentence should have been worded…”But when you try to go against what IS natural for that which is contrary to nature…you meet with resistance.”

  22. Cathy says:

    This article is a few years old, but is worth reading: http://www.pediatricsdigest.mobi/content/118/1/349.full

  23. LoriBelle says:

    It is an interesting article, Cathy. Was there something in particular you wanted to emphasize or point out by sharing that?

  24. Alabama John says:

    Why do you think in lesbian marriages and when two men marry one always assumes a male dominate part and one the more subservient part?

    They have various names in that “culture” for those positions of hierarchy and one I heard a lot was Bull Dyke. I’ll bet that was the one that said ‘Finally she’s mine”!

  25. LoriBelle says:

    I think it’s because it’s in our DNA and can’t be escaped…one must be a man, and the other female, no matter how much you want to resist and deny.

  26. Cathy says:

    I think the article I posted provides at least partial answers to both the question of “Why do homosexuals marry?” and “Why should same-sex marriage be legal?”; the former has been explicitly discussed here; the latter is always lurking in the wings when this topic comes up.

    Specifically, it addresses:
    1) Distinction between civil and religious marriage
    2) Socio-economic benefits of legal same-sex marriage
    3) Falsity of several alleged consequences against same-sex marriage
    4) List of benefits of civil marriage not available in civil unions

    Alabama John: Those roles are not universal; some same sex couples have that dynamic, but others do not.

    Frankly, I think y’all are reading way too much into “Finally, she’s mine!” You’ve never heard a guy say anything like that after the wedding? You don’t think each spouse can and does say “mine” about the other in a heterosexual marriage? Why should it be any different in this case?

  27. Alabama John says:

    Cathy,
    The difference is they both are the same sex.
    it just seems strange when anyone of the same sex calls the other SHE. That to us normal folks means the other in a marriage must be the HE.
    You never hear both in a marriage called a HE or SHE. They do separate genders somehow.
    When blacks were not allowed to legally marry, they had their own marriage done in secret mostly.
    They jumped a broom.
    So could the same sex folks. No, they want it public and for it to be accepted by us or if not forced on us to accept. Its not accepted anywhere in Gods nature and it shouldn’t be by us.

  28. Cathy says:

    There have been many “secret” — private, unofficial, friends-only — ceremonies, for years and years. The only time African-Americans were not allowed to marry was when they were slaves. Do you really think it’s ethical to treat gay folks like slaves?

    I have no idea what you’re trying to say about pronouns. People whose partner is a woman call her “she”, whether or not they are married, and regardless of the speaker’s gender. People who are partnered with a man call him “he”.

    I’ve lived in California since 1998. I know many same-sex couples, both here and elsewhere. Many are among my friends. There are as many variations in interpersonal dynamic as there are among the straight couples I know. The roles and responsibilities in a marriage aren’t fixed no matter how much some folks want to claim otherwise.

  29. LoriBelle says:

    When I saw the “She’s mine” video on the news, it was like a triumphant victory that now, at last, they don’t have to be subjected to just “partnership” but legal “oneness”. “Legal” as it may be, it still flies in the face of a Holy God who did not create nor ordain same sex relationships, but himself speaks against them as he does with all sin. I have no doubt that sooner or later, those who practice this sin, will eventually “win” the right to have what they desire and continue to erode what is truly moral. It is then, that I think our country will see the fruit of that erosion. Psalm 12:8 “The wicked strut about on every side When vileness is exalted among the sons of men.”

    Isaiah 5:
    20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
    Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness;
    Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

  30. Charles McLean says:

    Cathy, hyperbolic comparisons serve no purpose here. The army makes people wear certain clothing, just as the county jail requires of inmates. But that does not mean we are treating soldiers like convicts. Slavery is a non-issue here.

    In every culture I know, marriage is considered to include and to sanction sexual relations between spouses. Paul makes this clear in biblical reference as well. One simply cannot approve gay marriage without granting moral sanction to homosexual practices. The two are inextricably linked. If we believe that homosexual practice is wrong, then homosexual marriage is wrong as well. If you are arguing that the sexual component is not immoral or against the will of God, you need a better argument. If you are arguing for some sort of “celibate marriage”, which would exclude the sexual component, then please provide an example from your diverse experience.

    This whole question has been about how we respond to people who are doing something which we believe to be wrong. It’s not as simple as we would like to make it.

  31. Cathy says:

    I didn’t bring up slavery; Alabama John did — or can you think of another time “[w]hen blacks were not allowed to legally marry”?

    There is a huge difference between wearing a uniform — which, by the way, soldiers (unlike convicts) are not required to do 24/7 — and not being allowed to access the same legal rights as others.

    Many, many existing marriages violate Biblical teaching on marriage in many ways but because the one way they don’t is by containing one man and one woman, most folks appear to be fine with it. Do you think same-sex couple are waiting to have sex until their marriages are legal? Do you think the people having those “secret” marriages were not having sex until they were legal, or do you think slaves should only have procreated when raped by the masters? Does having legal standing with the government make their sexual sin any greater than not having that legal standing?

    In the US, we have the First Amendment. Until someone can come up with an argument against same-sex marriage that does not depend on “The Bible tells me so” or upon making up the numbers[1], there is no case for banning civil same-sex marriage.

    [1] See the article I linked earlier for the results of actual studies on the socio-economic impact of same-sex marriage.

  32. Alabama John says:

    This is not from the Bible.
    If everyone did as you suggest and married someone of the same sex, soon there would not be a human race. Only take a few years. Two sexes are for procreation. Sex with one of the same sex accomplishes nothing.

    I only mentioned slavery to demonstrate marriage was done many different ways and for most of the world by far it didn’t require a license, preacher or the bible. I mentioned slavery thinking you might of seen the movie series Roots.
    Folks know far more about blacks than Indians so I didn’t mentioned there marriage traditions.

    We are like animals in regard to committing to another of the same sex.

    I am Indian (Cherokee) and could of used their method of committing to another person of the opposite sex as it is done worldwide way before the bible was known to them and even today
    .
    its against nature for a creature, humans included to join up in marriage with another of the same sex and none do it but humans.

    In many ways we are the smartest creature on earth and in many ways, we are the most troubled, unhappy and the dumbest.
    30-30

  33. Cathy says:

    Where did I suggest _everyone_ marry someone of the same sex? Please don’t put words in my mouth.

    Sex between two 80 years olds doesn’t accomplish procreation, or between two people when one or both of them are infertile. Are you suggesting fertility tests should be required to receive a marriage license?

    The format of the ceremony is not what in question here. Secular legal recognition is.

    Monogamy is “against nature”, not homosexuality — same-sex pairings are seen in nature more than life-time exclusive pairings. As Christians, we are called to go against nature, because, by nature, we are sinful. But we are not called to forcibly impose the outward behavior of Christianity on those who have not made the inner commitment, and that’s what laws banning same-sex marriage are doing.

  34. LoriBelle says:

    Prov. 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation,
    But sin is a disgrace to any people.

    Marriage was never a secular thing. It began in the garden when God gave Eve to Adam. He also says that it is to be honored among all. Should we then, as Christians, throw in our hand and vote for that which is an abomination to the Lord? No matter how beneficial you might believe it is for this life…you cannot make straight what is crooked.

  35. Charles McLean says:

    Cathy noted: “Many, many existing marriages violate Biblical teaching on marriage in many ways but because the one way they don’t is by containing one man and one woman, most folks appear to be fine with it.”
    >>>
    Er, could you be more specific about your first claim? “Many, many” doesn’t strike me as either authoritative or informative. In what way are these many many marriages “in violation” of Biblical teaching? Please be aware that not all of us hold to the old MDR traditions of the CoC. Consider whether these marriages can have their problems addressed and have the marriage survive the process. This is one problem with gay marriage… the very terms are mutually morally exclusive. Hiding behind existing heterosexual immorality simply does not answer here.

    As to the other standard you offer, “Most folks seem to be fine with” not believing in Jesus, either, but it is still a path that will lead to destruction. Whether or not “most folks” are not willing to confront a sin of another sort is neither a moral or spiritual position.

  36. Cathy says:

    LoriBelle — If you see marriage as exclusively religious, are you OK with it having secular legal standing, and why? If you want to ensconce a religious definition of marriage in US law, you have to start with rescinding the religion clause in the First Amendment. Good luck with that.

    Charles — well, the specifics depends on what definition of marriage you’re using. Does it need to be performed by a religious leader, or have some kind of church blessing? If one thinks that civil marriage and religious marriage are the same thing, I can’t see why not. What about marriages in which one or both people have external sexual involvements, with the knowledge and approval of their spouse? Look at the swinger community for examples of this. Are sadomasochistic relationships consistent with the Bible? What if the woman is the dominant partner? Did the people who got divorced after a few weeks of marriage really cleave to one another and become one? It’s a big world, and a lot of people have gotten marriage licenses made official at city hall.

    I am not saying, and have never said, that churches in general or in specific need to host, or clergy who object need to perform / bless same-sex marriages. What I am saying is, until I see a case for banning it that does not rely on Scripture, based on facts rather than opinion, I cannot see any way a ban on same-sex marriage in the secular sense is consistent with the Constitution.

    It’s not about whether it’s Biblically approved. People have always been free to choose to sin. It’s about the 1138 privileges enumerated in this PDF: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04353r.pdf

  37. LoriBelle says:

    Ok, poor word phrasing on my part saying it was never “secular”, because then, that would naturally cause you to infer that I was saying it was “religious”. What I am saying is that we marry because of what God began in the garden thousands of years ago. And we are all descended from Adam. Does that mean that everyone who participates in marriage is a Christian? That’s not what I am saying either. Nor do I think that marriage causes the government to hold to any religious affiliation. Marriage is just what it is…a legal union between a man and a woman. (Scripture refers to it as a “mystery”. Something happens in the unseen.) Our world began that way. There is no example in the Word of God that reveals otherwise, and to my knowledge if you look back at the history of mankind you also won’t see it as anything other than a union between a man and a woman. And if you think that when those 1138 privileges are granted that all will be well with the world…I just say watch and see. Wisdom is proved right by her deeds.

  38. Cathy says:

    if you look back at the history of mankind you also won’t see it as anything other than a union between a man and a woman

    False. Even sticking to the Bible, we have many examples of marriage between one man and several women. Looking farther afield, in various places at various times up to and including the present day, marriage has taken many forms. Here are a few examples: http://molly.kalafut.org/marriage/marriage-types.html

    If a couple goes through a religious marriage ceremony, but never files the paperwork with the state, are they married?
    If a couple files the paperwork, with a brief Justice of the Peace “ceremony”, but there’s no involvement of any religious figure, are they married?

    I have never said all would be right with the world if those privileges were available to same-sex couples. I only say that the laws of the US would cease to be in violation of the Constitution — and maybe our governments could solve some problems with real impact. (Nah, that’s too idealistic.)

  39. LoriBelle says:

    Gosh, you really like to keep me on my toes!!! LOL…ok, ok, I need to correct myself again. I am well aware that some godly men had more than one wife. So to correct my wording, I should have said only between MEN and WOMEN. What I was implying is that marriage was never meant to be anything more than a union between men and women. I don’t see the Lord condemning polygamy. I have read where he said the king that was chosen for Israel was not to be a man who had many wives or his wives would lead their heart astray. He also said that elders were to be men of but one wife. I don’t know what God’s reason was for permitting multiple wives…but nowhere has He ever sanctioned a relationship between same sex. And unless I missed it…your link had no mention of that either.

  40. Charles McLean says:

    Cathy, perhaps the civil government should just get out of the marriage business altogether. There’s nothing that says marriage has to be a civil arrangement. But societies have consistently found that traditional marriage is the most effective stabilizing force in society, the best means of caring for children and developing them into good citizens, and the best means of preserving capital for both the aged and their heirs.

    If your argument is strictly civil, the government can choose to recognize the union of a man and a sheep. Or a man and a Buick. Or a man and a small child. None of these are addressed directly in the Constitution. It’s just a matter of getting enough votes rounded up. If you object, and you get outvoted, you will be then where you are now. But society will be poorer. But if your argument reaches beyond the political into that which is moral, now you are standing on ground where our moral standard takes precedence. And that standard transcends my feelings or traditions.

  41. Cathy says:

    Charles, I’d be delighted to see the government get out of marriage altogether! But if that isn’t going to happen, I can’t see any way a religiously-based definition of marriage isn’t a violation of the First Amendment, and I can’t see any way the “one man, one woman” definition _isn’t_ based in religion.

    Unlike adult humans, sheep and small children cannot consent to marriage, and are demonstrably harmed by activities which generally ensue — I’m not talking about outlawing animal abuse or child abuse here.

    Technically, a Buick can’t consent, either, but I’m not even sure what marriage to a Buick would entail — would your employer have to cover auto repairs if they offer health insurance to spouses? I can’t think of anyone that would be harmed by such a marriage, though.

    Stable families with at least two parental-type figures encourage stable societies, mentally healthy kids, etc., but no reputable study I’m aware of has shown a significant difference based on whether those parental-type figures were the same gender or not.

    I’d like to see an option where people could form a household, with many if not all the current legal benefits of marriage, but with no assumption that the adults are sexually involved. For example, two single mothers — war widows, divorcees, whatever — could set up a household such that one of them was the breadwinner and the other stayed home to take care of all their kids. Much of it can be more-or-less set up now, if you have enough time / energy / money to deal with all the legal hoops, but not everyone does; a “package deal” would be simpler and more accessible.

    LoriBelle — Should what God sanctions determine the law of this country? What about the First Amendment — since not all religions are opposed to same-sex relationships, can a law which can only be justified by reference to Scripture be anything other than privileging one religion over others?

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